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Alaska 2012 - Camping Log

The follow is the unedited log from our trip to Alaska this year.

I'm not the best writer (Duh!) but wanted to document our trip as it happened.

This section is for our 3 day hike in Denali State Park


Sitting here in Anchorage.  Flights were good with little security.  However, I hurt my right hand somehow and now can barley use it.  The suburban is just what we wanted.  It's pretty beat up but runs fine.  You can't get in the on the passenger side though.  We Hung out under the bridge at montana creek and skipped stones.  We drove up to Talkeetna and took the K2 grand flight.  It was pretty bumpy the first 15 minutes. The plane would move side to side like a fish tailing car.  The flight was awesome except for a brat who kept yelling at his dad about using the camera.  We drove to north Denali campground where we found an awesome ten spot. 


Woke up in the tent for the first time.  We got a little rain in the night and I didn't put the rain fly on so I had to get out in the night to put it on.  Once we got up we had to drive 50 miles south to get 1 liter of gas for the stove I forgot to purchase earlier.  So we spent 1/4 tank of gas to do this.  We got to ermine trailhead around 3pm and hitched a ride up to little coal creek.  From there we hiked 3 miles up the ridge to get to a campt site. After getting sorted we hiked around and found a nice little lake a few other people were staying at.  There were lots of mosquitos so we had to were our net hats for most of the night


Woke up with no rain.  Got started around 10:00 am.  The hike was great, had to finish getting up to the top of the ridge but when we did the hiking was pretty easy compared to the ascent.  We finally saw the mountain today but just the top.  The weather was great for the whole day, but got a bit cold at night.  We met another group of 13 hikers and a solo hiker along the trail.  We finally stopped for camp along a small creek and went to bed pretty early.  There were ground squirrels that sit and bark at us while we sit in our tent 


This section is for our 6 day Kayaking trip


Day 1 of Kayaking.  - Total Disaster!  The ride out was really nice.  We saw a whale up close, closer than the captain ever did.  When we started kayaking al my clothes got wet because my kayak had a crack in it.  I took the VHF radio up a hill and contacted the captain "captain Dan" of the competitor’s company who used his satellite phone to call Pangea kayaking to bring another kayak.  About 2 hours later the captain "Matt" called and brought a new kayak.  OK!!!  No were, or so we thought.  We packed all the wet clothes together and started paddling.  We checked out a few more coved and then decided to grab some food so we landed on what seemed like a good spot on a steep rocked beach.  It turned out to be hell.  It was slippery and very uncomfortable.  During this landing we noticed that both of our sleeping bags were wet!  Not very bad but bad enough were we both had wet bags to sleep in.  Once we got to a really pretty DRY camping spot we noticed all the wood was to wet to burn.  Then when we went to make coffee we noticed we had no coffee, tea, or sugar.  All and all a pretty shitty day but the scenery was beautiful!!!  Also, This night I noticed that I didn't have my sidearm!!  I must have left it at the last beach we visited!


I slept alright.  My bag wasn't as cold as I thought it would be.  Once I got up I decided to paddle out to the last place I remember having my gun.  Paddling around elf point was a bit scary solo.  I had to go all the way out vs the short path because it was low tide and I couldn't get through where we came in last night.  I paddled out, landed and found my gun!  It was right where I left it.  I think it may have gotten covered by the tide but it looked fine.  Just a little rust in the barrel.  (this rust got much worse before the end of the trip but I was able to clean the gun when I got home and it's fully functional again.)  So I paddled back around elf point, meeting Sam on the North side, he hiked back to camp while I rounded the point.  At camp all of our stuff is still wet which sucks but what can you do?  "Written later that night" - Build a fire! which is what we finally did!  and it was a good one!  not too big but big enough to dry our clothes!  Then after that I went fishing for like the fifth time and got a fish on the first cast!  I fished a bit more and got another fish.  It felt great to catch my first sea fish (trout though...)  All in all a great day!!


Today started like all the others cold and wet.  I woke up and went and did a bit more fishing and got another fish.  This one was the biggest yet!  Sam didn't want them so I had 3 tasty fish with tarter sauce for breakfast.  By the way, I'm writing this in the most beautiful surroundings I've ever been in.  It's truly breathtaking.  I haven't been taking as many pictures as I would like to but it's very hard to take pictures from the kayak, especially since I switched with Sam because the great one was making his foot fall asleep.  We went North in the bay today passing emerald cove and down to Columbia bay.  I did some more fishing but didn't get lucky.  Once we found our campsite for the night we went out to get some water which meant we had to cross a small cove to a waterfall but when getting out sam fell and get his clothes about 60% wet.  Luckily he got out quick and he had his rain gear on which helped.  I also tipped over but was able to stop myself before going in.  I only got my arm wet.  Today has been the sunniest of the trip. It was so bright I had to break out the shades!  Then about a hour after I striped down to regular clothes it started raining really hard.  We had to land and crouch under a tree for about 30 minutes.  We ended the night with a light rain and a great view also I think you can hear the glacier calving.  It sounds kinda like thunder.


I forgot to write this log yesterday.  We woke up in camp and sam got out of the radio and called one of the pangea ships to see if they had any shoes because his were wet.  They didn't have any so we went ahead and got packed up and left.  It was a pretty nice day but not as much sun as the day before.  While we were paddling we decided to check out some birds by the shore and started paddling towards them, and noticed it was getting very shallow.  Like 2-3 feet. so we started paddling out to the center of the bay and it got even shallower!  We were over the mud flats I saw on the topo map. we must have paddled at least 2,000 more feet before it started getting deeper.  Sam said he scraped bottom several times.  It was one of the more scary parts of the trip but the tide was coming in so we knew we would be fine.  We paddled down the bay closer to the ice field.  The ice bergs were as big as houses and every few minutes you would hear this crash and birds would fly around.  I can only assume it was ice bergs crashing about.  We paddled up a cove which led to "River One"  We were told it was only passable at high tide but we still had to turn around.  but the river was one of the coolest things.  Sheer cliffs that jut out of the water only bulge out once the go under water.  because the water was so clear you could look down and see the rock walls of the river canyon disappear into a black emptiness.  We camped at the end of that cover and fell asleep early to a great sunset.


RAIN!!!  We planned to get up early to get the day started but it has been raining for hours.  It's now close to 1PM and were still in the tent.  But I saw 4 kayaks out this morning so I'm hopeful I can get Sam out of the tent now.  (Later 7PM)  The day has been a total waste.  Rain all day.  I have only gotten out of the tent for a hour or so in the last 24 hours and it looks like i'll be in here some more.  I'm getting tired of hearing the rain hit the tent.  Since we get picked up tomorrow we'll be paddling rain or shine, we got to get to the glacier.  Also about the kayaks, I saw earlier.  There were 10 of them, all tandems.  We camped just down the beach where I think we'll get picked up tomorrow.  Were warm, were dry, it will be ok.  At Last!  around 10PM the rain finally stopped!~  Hopefully it will last till tomorrow.


Today we woke up to almost no rain. Today is our last day out here so we better get going early.  We woke up around 6 am (since we'd been in the tent now for over 24 hours) and started packing our gear.  We paddled out of the river one cove and headed for the ice field.  We saw that there was a natural damn keeping most of the ice in and with the tide coming out you could see where, in the few breaks in the damn water was coming out.  We headed for one and got into the ice field with no troubles.  Once in the field it was easy, almost too easy, to get up close to the ice bergs.  Some were so blue I couldn't believe it... others were dirt and almost looks like rocks.  there were even a few I was sure we could have landed on... broad slightly sloping beach of ice...  oh well, to dangerous.  We paddled towards the Glacier for a while but eventually turned back as we weren't sure A. if we would get stuck in the field and the ice bergs were starting to get clumped up around the exit to the field. and B. We knew we had to meet some other kayakers to get a boat ride out of the bay.  So we turned back and worked our way out of the field.  We eventually saw the other kayakers and brought them up on the radio.  We discussed where they wanted to meet and when and sam and I paddled around the coast for a few hours while we waited for everyone to meet up.  We jumped on the boat and had a very nice ride back into town.